D.U.S.T was formed in 1998 in Cardiff, Wales by Mikey (vocals) and Naamah (bass) as a means to live out their larger than life musical visions. The addition of guitarist Xtian clinched the deal and by 2000, the exuberant three-piece shook the dust of the old millenium off their heels and rushed forward on the crest of a glam-rock riff.
"I met Naamah whilst still in another band, a sort of dark indie band, more Radiohead/Placeboesque)." says Mikey. " The band had (for me) run it's course and Naamah and me decided to form D.U.S.T. as an antidote to the way the new alternative scene was going. We had a few guitarists before we met Xtian. When we started working with X, things just clicked into place. We had it in our heads that we were going to create a large scale show for the smaller venue and hopefully we're getting closer to it all the time!"
D.U.S.T are signed to Wasp Factory Records in the UK, an indie label established by the enigmatic Lee Chaos as a means of giving a voice to an eclectic assortment of bands. Under their auspices, D.U.S.T released a fierce, gripping debut album entitled "From the Sublime to the Obscene." With their shimmering guitars, driving bass rhythms and plangent vocals, it's no surprise that the goth scene in the UK has come to regard D.U.S.T as one of their own. Mikey's reaction to being asked if D.U.S.T are a goth band was pleasantly even-handed and open-minded, given the tendency of many other bands to run screaming at the very suggestion.
"Shit kicking drug guzzling TVs out of windows Rock 'n' Roll ain't dead. It's just plastered on some eyeliner and slipped into a slinky little PVC number..." - WASP band bio page
"Goth seems to mean so many different things to different people." he continues, "I know many Goths who would argue that D.U.S.T. are definitive Nu Trad Goth, then on the other hand, there are those that argue that we are not Goth at all. I've never really understood it myself, I just like the idea that fans of music that I like are also fans of D.U.S.T. The Goth audience here in England are a varied bunch - yet they all seem to accept the sub-genres of the scene (let's face it - the scene is no where near big enough not to!!!). They're also a united front, hehehe!! They stick together even when they're bitching at each other!!! As for D.U.S.T. fans, they have the strangest sense of humour I've ever seen! They all have a sense of the madness that we advocate!"
The band was lucky enough to play at the most recent of the legendary Whitby Gothic Weekends, which Mikey described as "a bizarre experience. Whitby doesn't appear to exist in normal time and space!! The audience, generally speaking, varies from 100% mad for the show and 100% apathetic to music in general but we played a good set and the crowd were up for it. We had a good Rock'n'Roll weekend with our good friends Swarf playing the same bill we kicked up quite a riot backstage!"
Continuing his musings, Mikey, who speaks of the gothic and industrial with a mix of pragmatism and affection, commented that the British music press tend to distort the state of the scene.
"There's a misrepresentation of the goth/industrial scene in the British media, especially in places like Kerrang, and NME, that it's a failing scene.", he explains. "It's not a failing scene at all, but more of an underground scene that is, for the most part, happy to be so. It doesn't want huge exposure because then it will just be glossed over, like metal was in the 80's."
At this point, the interview devolved into
a brief 80's lovefest, wherein Mikey confessed his love for early Motley
Crue, and who was I to argue, being a bit of an Alice Cooper fan myself?
He bemoaned the way the style and energy of the early glam-metal acts was
quickly taken over by the dreaded "hair bands", while pointing out that
the glam aesthetic has been making a comeback with the likes of Placebo
"There was sense of pride too in the 80's, a sense of ego, do you know what I mean?" he asks rhetorically, sounding wistful. " 'Look at us! Aren't we wonderful?' Rather than putting your scruffiest clothes and singing about how crap the world's going to be for your children."
"There's no sense of decadence anymore, and there hasn't been for a long time. There's no celebration anymore, there's a lot of negativity and personally, I couldn't get onstage and put a lot of passion and energy into something I hated that much. If I'm angry, that's fine, because anger involves energy, but I couldn't imagine a whole set of anger and misery. How are you supposed to enthuse your audience with that?"
A second album is in the works, a darker, heavier album which Mikey describes as sounding more like their live performances. He feels that the diversity of styles that D.U.S.T travels through is one of the band's primary strengths.
"In the 70's, Queen and Bowie did so many different types of music, but it was always Queen, always Bowie, and that's hopefully the way we're going with this, where we'll have lots of different styles but always with the same kind of nuances, the same kind of edge that we've always implied. A major label might pick up on just one aspect of that, and want us to make a whole album of just that one style, which for us would be a major compromise."
With that caveat in mind, Mikey sounds prepared for any success and challenges the future might bring, and offers a final thought on the current musical climate.
"I also think that we don't have the snobbery we used to with regards to crossing genre borders. Everything used to be quite single-minded in the 90's."